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A flower shortage is driving up costs for a Mother's Day of post-COVID-19 reunions

Haley Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“All those things were offline, and sadly, some of those events had been replaced by funerals,” said Chatoff, of California Flower Mall. “So there was the need for florals — for celebrating a loved one — but in a different way.”

Ruben Rodriguez, a designer at Duran’s Flowers in Pasadena, said supplies have been so tight this week that the shop can’t even put out its usual display of fresh-cut flowers.

“We haven’t had [the display] this week because everything is going into pre-paid orders,” he said. “We’re just hoping we can accommodate the demand.”

And it’s not just roses. Flowers such as hydrangeas that typically cost the shop $40 a box are now running closer to $80, Rodriguez said.

Those costs are often passed down to customers, but the steep prices can be prohibitive for some looking to buy.

Tanayry Vasquez, 34, drove to L.A. from Bakersfield on Friday morning in hopes of finding flowers for her Sunday celebration with her mother-in-law and three daughters. She left the market after being dismayed by the prices and was instead hoping to snag a deal from a curbside vendor selling bouquets from the back of his truck.

“We haven’t really gotten together,” she said of her family as she waited to purchase four rose bouquets at $18 apiece. “My daughters haven’t really seen [their grandmother] this year, which has been hard because they’re really close.”


Although demand isn’t showing immediate signs of slowing, there are indications that the supply shortage is improving, said Elizabeth Daly, a spokeswoman for the Society of American Florists.

The cold weather that disrupted so many flower farms is warming, which will help late spring and summer supplies and make for an even better fall, Daly said.

But with the National Retail Federation predicting that Mother’s Day spending will climb to a record $28.1 billion this year — with 68% of shoppers planning to purchase flowers — the weekend could continue to be a crunch.

Some shoppers Friday said it’s worth it.

“Friends and loved ones need something to be excited about,” said Rachel Laforce, 35, who was buying supplies for her small flower business and is pregnant with her first child.

“I just think people are glad for something genuinely positive after this isolated year,” she said, her arms full of bouquets.

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